Public order before profit for local businesses?
The evening of March 24 was the first night of Spring Break during which the recently announced curfew took effect - and streets around South Beach were 'like a ghost town' according to reports from Thursday night.
The curfew was announced by Mayor Dan Gelber and City Manager Alina Hudak after chaotic scenes throughout the spring break period which in their view presented a “clear and present danger of a riot or other general public disorder.”
The midnight to 6 a.m. curfew applies to the South Beach area will remain in place until Monday morning. It also prevents the buying alcohol at South Beach stores after 6 p.m.
A repeat of previous years' chaos
City officials had hoped that Spring Break 2022 might go off more smoothly and with less disruption than in previous years.
Local government officials implemented rules that it was hoped would reduce the chances of a repeat of scenes from 2021, when riots broke out and an 8pm curfew had to be applied to the Miami Beach area. Unfortunately after a strong start to the season where up to 570,000 thronged to the region to join the part on March 12 and 13, things have since descending into chaos.
Local businesses who might otherwise rely on the increased volume of customers during the period may well feel aggrieved, but Mayor Gelber sees it differently:
“We don’t ask for it, promote it, or encourage it. We just endure it.”
Preparations failed this time
It's impossible of course for city government to prevent the incidents that brought unrest to this year's Spring Break, but they clearly hoped it would go more smoothly than it has.
With this, final weekend of revelry before college students return to where they came from, residents of Fort Lauderdale, South Beach and all the other Spring Break hot-spots will be hoping that curfews keep everyone safe so that normal life can return soon after.
Do you think Florida should do more to discourage Spring Break celebrations, or is the state's responsibility to be better prepared for whatever may happen? Let me know in the comments section below.